t hyroid disease is a hormonal disorder that aﬀects cats and dogs in diﬀerent ways. The thyroid gland is small, but plays a major role in
maintaining a pet’s health—just as it does in humans.
The thyroid gland is responsible for producing
hormones that help to regulate a pet’s metabolism.
In dogs, the most common thyroid disease is
hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid gland does not
produce enough hormones. Low levels of thyroid
hormones cause the metabolism to slow down.
Treatment of hypothyroidism typically involves oral
medication, with regular examinations to ensure
healthy hormone levels are maintained.
On the contrary, in cats, the most common thyroid
condition is hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid
gland produces more hormones than a cat needs,
causing the metabolism to speed up. This is seen
most commonly in senior cats. If lef untreated,
hyperthyroidism can result in heart failure, kidney
disease, high blood pressure and other lifethreatening conditions. Several treatment options
are available for hyperthyroidism, including surgical
removal of the thyroid gland, radiation treatment,
oral medications or nutritional management.
Successful management of these chronic conditions
depends on early diagnosis and treatment
Signs of hyperthyroidism (cats) include weight loss,
diarrhea, vomiting, increased appetite, increased
thirst, increased urination, restlessness, and a matted
or greasy coat or unkempt appearance.
• In 2011, approximately 1 in every 200 dogs had
hypothyroidism—a 6 percent increase since 2007.
• States at the top of the list in 2011 for high
prevalence of hypothyroidism were South Dakota,
Mississippi and Arkansas.
More than half (61 percent) of dogs with
hypothyroidism in 2011 were also overweight.
• In 2011, approximately 1 in every 100 cats had
hyperthyroidism—a 13 percent increase since 2007.
• In 2011, the states with the highest prevalence of
hyperthyroidism were South Dakota, Montana and